Za’atari Refugee Camp – September 2017

A group of 24 Syrian women in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp have been trained in fragrance creation by Givaudan fragrances to help create new beauty products and local businesses. They are part of an initiative Helen Storey is getting off the ground titled ”Beauty co-op”, enhancing the women’s, already considerable skills and talents, is part of a wider project to further develop new opportunities by realising their entrepreneurial skills beyond the camp also.

Perfumer Dalia Izem and CFM Rawya Roumieh Catto, both based in Dubai, joined global business director Rhian Slee to help train the women. “We worked with Helen Storey to deliver a unique training these women would value and enjoy” said Rhian. “We adapted a three day course to provide a basic understanding of olfactive families and how to create fragrances. The local IRD community center was transformed into a real life perfumery lab”.

For these women, their dream is to create their own beauty products and build a business to support their families and improve the livelihoods and well-being of their friends and neighbours. The camp has moved beyond providing shelter, food and water and is now helping people build their own businesses.  Helen’s collaborations are one way to plant seeds of hope, bringing in specialists like Givaudan to provide new kinds of the training opportunities.

“Acknowledging the women as exemplary students and for their creative minds was equally as important to them as learning about International perfumery” said Dalia “seeing in their eyes the spark of creative ideas for the future made the experience even more overwhelming”.

“The energy of the training was so positive, with smiles on all the ladies faces, they were so engaged!” said Rawya “They went home with certificate in hand, filled with pride and stories to share with the family for generations”.

"The final day was spent exploring how the women can take what they’ve learned and develop their own businesses. We’re hoping to partner with some of our clients to support them further in the future.”

“We were all blown away by the quality and level of the women’s knowledge and skills" Helen said "together we have made some very exiting plans of how to create products which can be of value to markets within and beyond the camp – Made in Za’atari by …. Could be a brand new ambition, showcasing the many talents of women makers in the camp, whilst developing a new way of working, where the power, skill and knowledge of the maker remains a tangible part of the product wherever it is sold.”

The team will be returning in 2018 to co design with the women, an Advanced Training course and to explore the early stages of enterprise making too.

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